Thursday, March 7, 2013

Proud To Be Baby-Free: Why I Don't Plan To Ever Have Children

My older sister is eight months pregnant currently. At her baby shower, I looked around the room and noticed that the majority of people were pregnant or just had a baby. I think I was one of three people total at a shower of 30 that had no children at all. And I was fine with that, it was more than I found it odd.

I have no desire to have kids. I know the line is hack, but it's true: I can barely take care of myself, why would I think I want to dedicate the rest of my life to taking care of someone else? I can barely afford things as it is, why would I want to make money tighter? Put someone else's life at risk when things go downhill? I feel guilty enough about how I switched the cat to dry food when I was broke a few years ago! Not to mention how having a kid would mean having to forever deal with the other source of genetic material for forever. And I can't even like another person long enough to even need to bring up my lack of desire to procreate!

Not that this is a new development. When I was a kid and would bring my American Girl Doll on playdates, at some point we'd be setting up a scenario to make-believe and the other girls would announce something along the lines of "Well, I'm the mommy and my doll is my baby named Kirsten." Then, it would get to me. And I'd just feel so out of place. Eventually, I'd murmur, "Okay, uh, well... my doll is my little sister."

I didn't want to be the mommy. It seemed weird to me. A little icky even. It's the same thing now, as an adult with a beloved cat for a pet- don't call her my "baby" and don't call me her "mommy". I'm her owner. Her slave. Her human. Her creator-that-gives-food-and-snuggles. Never-ever her "mommy". Because she is an adult cat that, I assume, had an adult cat for a mother at some point. We're more roommates than anything else, if you ask me (see the above list for how she might see our relationship).

When I played alone with my Molly American Girl Doll, I just played that she was Molly. She was living her own life- she was a girl that sometimes slept inside a pink little travel trunk. She wrote in her little doll journal and practiced math with little doll flashcards. Sometimes she would dress in the burgundy dress (that was meant for Samantha dolls but I wanted it anyway) and pretend that she was at the Christmas party in Avonlea with Anne Shirley and Diana Barry. But I never came into the situation. It was all Molly. She wasn't my child, she was my avatar.

As I got older and progressed past the age of playing with my own dolls to babysitting girls that played with dolls, I didn't quite get better at the "playing mommy" thing. I just got better at dealing with the fact that other girls liked to do it. If a little girl I babysat brought me a babydoll and said that the baby needed to be burped, I'd toss the doll lightly into the air and catch it- claiming that I just scared the burps out of the baby and hand it back to the child seconds later. They would laugh and we'd get past things.

Because that's the deal- I'm great entertainment for kids. I like goofy games and word play. I like distracting a kid out of a pout. I like kids a lot- I just don't want my own. I like being able to return them to their rightful owners- often full of junk food, over-indulged, covered in make-up, and sporting new accessories from Claire's.

My life as an aunt has really hit this situation home. I lived with my sister's family for the first six years of my niece's life. We all shared a bathroom.

I had to deal with the washing machine going constantly with loads of baby clothes. I had to hear the wailing baby in the night. I had to go to classes with puked up soured milk down my sleeve. I had to dance to The Wiggles and deal with the fact that the kid would rather sit ontop of me than on any vacant piece of furniture, if given a choice. I had to pop the training seat off the toilet every time I needed to go. I had to check the tub for rogue evil sea witches before stepping in to take a shower. And I was the babysitter that had to hold a sobbing dramatic toddler at 2 AM until she cried herself to sleep after you told her that her parents were still "at a meeting" one night each weekend.

And the diapers... my, god, the diapers...

I've gotten my demo of the lifestyle of a mom. I saw what my sister does. And I do not want that. I like my quiet time. I like not having to worry if the tiny breakable human I'm responsible for is alive or not. But I know that most people want that. And I try my best not to judge you.

And maybe some day my mother will stop telling me that I'll change my mind. Because I've been saying the same thing for 20 years now and she still doesn't quite believe me.

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